Project delay to trigger power cut

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  • Published 16.01.10

Shillong, Jan. 15: The death of five labourers at the Myntdu Leshka hydel project site in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya in October last year has delayed the commissioning of the first unit of the power project, raising the spectre of power cuts in the state.

The incident took place after incessant rainfall raised the water level of the Myntdu river flowing by the power plant, 100km from here, and flooded the tunnels and the powerhouse of the project.

The flash floods that resulted in the tragedy also partially damaged equipment of the 126-MW power project, delaying its commissioning.

The principal secretary, power, B.K. Dev Verma, said work had begun last month after repair and cleaning of the equipment that were filled with mud, water and boulders.

“The first unit will be commissioned only in April and the remaining two units in June and December,” Verma said.

The first and second units of the project, each of 42MW, were to be commissioned in December last year and the third (also 42MW) at the end of this year.

No extra funds will be required for the completion of the project, being executed by the Meghalaya State Electricity Board.

The deadline to complete the project was five years from the laying of the foundation stone on October 25, 2002 by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Though Meghalaya has hydropower potential of around 3,000MW, the state now generates only 175MW power, while the demand is over 600MW.

The power department is also exploring the possibility of starting thermal power projects to tide over the power shortage.